Harvard University Survey Reveals Some Shocking, And Some Expected, Details

An annual survey by the The Harvard Crimson has given outsiders a close look into the inner sanctum of life at the exclusive – and expensive – college. Graduating Harvard seniors were asked questions on a wide range of topics for the survey, from politics to post-college life to sexual assault. As noted by The Crimson, not every student surveyed chose to answer every question, and no changes were made for self-selection bias.

According to the survey, 74 percent of black students have felt some type of marginalization during their time at Harvard. What’s more, 67 percent of students from families with a household income lower than $80,000 a year felt that they experienced income-based marginalization. The attendance scales are still tipped in favor of those from wealthy families – despite 39 percent of households in the US making less than $40,000 a year, just under 10 percent of Harvard students come from such families. More students, 28.8 percent, come from families who earn more than $250,000 a year – just 2.69 percent of the population, than any other single economic group, according to the survey.

14.4 percent of women report they’ve been sexually assaulted.

One shocking statistic is that 14.4 percent of women reported that they had been sexually assaulted during their time at college. Coming during a time when much attention is being paid to the issue of sexual assault on campus, the survey adds evidence that the problem is a national one, with the risk being lower at Harvard than elsewhere. A recent study found that 18.6 percent of female freshmen will suffer either rape or attempted rape.

Politically, Harvard is much more liberal than one might expect. 69 percent of women and 51 percent of men identified as “liberal or very liberal,” with Harvard actually making students less conservative than they were before they attended the college. The survey reports that 13.4 percent of seniors were conservative before coming to the college, with just 7.9 percent remaining so.

Men more likely to earn over $70,000 than women.

When it comes to life after college, the future’s bright for Harvard students. Reported starting salaries are as high as you’d expect, with the largest proportion of both genders -21.74 percent of women and 30.05 percent of men – reporting that they expect to make $70,000-$89,999 out of college. The gender pay gap is, unfortunately, also as prevalent amongst Harvard graduates as elsewhere. While 11.27 percent of men report an expected starting salary of over $110,000, just 4.71 percent of women say the same. As Boston.com note, these salary figures are far higher than most college students can expect, with college graduates across the nation averaging a starting salary of $45,478.

Race also plays a factor when it comes to salary, while 16.35 percent of East Asian graduates report an expected starting salary of over $110,000, just 2.56 percent of black students report the same. More Harvard graduates plan to work in finance than in the past 6 years, with 33.59 percent reporting this as their expected career path, but still not hitting 2007’s numbers of 47 percent.

Other statistics reported by the survey include:

  • 95 percent reported that they would choose to go to Harvard again.
  • 13 percent of Harvard students identify as ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual, or something else.’
  • 19.5 percent have cheated at some point in their studies at Harvard.
  • 21 percent of students first had sex in their freshman year.
  • 21 percent never had a relationship while at Harvard.

[Photo by William B. Plowman/Getty Images]